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Leucadendron spp. (loo-ka-DEN-dron)
These flowers grow as showy trees and shrubs. There are many
naturally occurring varieties of Leucadendrons, and all have
interesting characteristics. Some are stark and dramatic, and
others are slender-stemmed and bushy. Leucadendrons’ “flowers”
are actually stiff, colorful bracts that surround conelike
Leucadendrons are available in hues of red, burgundy, green and
yellow. Some are bicolored.
Leucadendrons will last for up to three weeks, depending on
variety and care.
Leucadendrons are available year-round from world markets, but
supplies will vary. Order in advance from growers or wholesalers
to ensure availability.
Leucadendrons in coolers at 33 F to 35 F with good air
circulation and high humidity to help them last longer and
prevent leaf blackening.
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY These
flowers are not believed to be sensitive to ethylene gas.
LIGHT Keep the lights on in floral coolers when storing
Leucadendrons. The flowers should be displayed where there is
plenty of light.
LEAF BLACKENING This is a
common postharvest problem with Leucadendrons. Prevent it with
proper refrigeration, correct use of flower food and adequate
Purchase bunches that appear fresh and crisp. Watch for
blackened foliage or petals and for any sign of fungus inside
the sphere-shaped heads, which will range from the size of a
thimble to the size of a golf ball. Avoid new growth because
these stems wilt easily.
FAMILY Leucadendrons are
members of the Proteaceae family. Relatives include Banksias,
Grevilleas (silk oak) and Proteas.
MEANING The name comes from
the Greek words “leukos” for “white” and “dendron” for
referring to the silvery-colored foliage on some species. The
Proteaceae family was named for Proteus, the Greek sea god who
had the ability to assume many forms.
originate from South Africa, along the south and southwestern
coastal mountain ranges.
HISTORY The Proteaceae
family of plants was first grown in the United States in
California about 40 years ago. Later, Hawaiian growers began
producing Proteaceae as well. The environmental conditions in
these locations are similar to those of their natural habitats.
DEEP ROOTS The Proteaceae
family is ancient and is perhaps one of the oldest known groups
of flowering plants. Scientific studies of plant life show they
were present 300 million years ago. The first illustrations of
Proteaceae appeared in the early 1600s.
Some information provided by:
Hawaii Tropical Flower Council,
California Protea Management,
The International Protea Association,
The Chain of Life NetworkÆ,
Society of American Florists’ (SAF) Flower & Plant Care manual
You may reach “Cut Flower of the Month” writer Steven W.
Brown, AIFD, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (415) 239-3140.
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